National Cat Show Collar and Medal (1895)
In 1990, Bobara Pendergrast, a Persian breeder and antique dealer, got a tip from a friend about several unique pieces at an antique shop in Central New Jersey. When she got there she found three stunning items: a silver medal marked "National Cat Show, 1895," with a cat face in the middle, a silver cat collar with "National Cat Show, 1895, Won By Cosey," and a picture of a cat wearing a collar ribbon marked "National Cat Show." Unbelievably, all of them were in perfect, mint condition. The antique dealer said that they had been found packed safely away in the attic of a house near Lambertville, New Jersey where they were discovered during an estate sale.
Ms. Pendergrast began displaying the items in her jewelry booth at cat shows and everyone who saw them had theories about their significance. A friend, Donna Wiley, found a reference to a 'Cosie' in a book titled That Yankee Cat.
"In May of 1895, when the most famous and largest of the early shows was held at Madison Square Garden in New York. The show was won hands down, first place and best of show by a brown tabby female Maine Cat named Cosie. It must have been a spectacular show, numbering 176 animals in all and including two ocelots, two wildcats, and three civet cats.1"
A visit to the New York Public Library resulted in the finding of a New York Times article that confirmed Mrs. Fred Brown's 'Cosey' had been named Best in Show.
Mrs. Brown must have been very proud of Cosey's victory as shown in the care she obviously took to preserve the awards and photograph. We owe her a debt of gratitude for that!
In 1990, The CFA Foundation became the proud owner of this wonderful set of historical artifacts. These important pieces of cat fancy history were purchased by the Foundation thanks to a generous specified donation from the National Capital Cat Show.
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